Mainstream social media sites are being utilized to prey on underage victims for sex trafficking. Showard Law Firm is currently accepting cases involving sex trafficking victims recruited this way.
Victim Files Lawsuit Against Facebook
“Jane Doe,” a 15-year-old sex trafficking survivor from Houston, sued Facebook in 2019 after three years of abuse. The perpetrator allegedly used Facebook to contact and groom Doe for six months. The day she finally met him at a Motel 6, he kidnapped and trafficked her on the now-defunct magazine Backpage. Unfortunately, sites like CityXGuide, Skip the Games, Bedpage, Seeking Arrangement, and Sugar Babies have been all too eager to fill the void left by Backpage.
Man Receives 122 Years in Jail for Recruiting Sex Trafficking Victims on Facebook
After viewing an anti-trafficking presentation at school In 2019, two teenagers in Riverside, CA, opened up about suspicious messages they’d received online. This tip led to Eliberto Cruz Jacobo’s conviction on 62 felony counts, including human trafficking of a minor, commercial sex acts, statutory rape, and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to more than 122 years in prison. The 46-year-old had used the fake alias of “Marlissa Garcia” to recruit more than 120 victims on Facebook– ranging in age from 14 to 31 into prostitution.
Sexual Predators Groom Victims Using Popular Social Media Sites
“Social media is increasingly being exploited to contact, recruit, and sell children for sex,” according to a study by the University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute. Their research identified platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, Blendr, Yellow, Chatroulette, and Monkey as gateways to potential underaged victims.
Predators on social media target youth who post comments like they are ugly, misunderstood, or who hate being treated like a kid. They look for evidence of substance abuse, runaway activity, school problems, sexual activity, or home instability. They flatter the victims, express sympathy, and offer to fill the void. Social media makes it easy for real-world connections to be made within a few hours.
While 58 percent of victims eventually meet their online traffickers, 42 percent were trafficked without meeting the predator in real life. While they have access to a wealth of information on a child’s profile page, they are skilled at hiding their own identities with fake profiles. Often, children are groomed and convinced to send a risqué photo or video, which is then used to extort them. Fear of parents finding out or other repercussions can cause victims to remain trapped. In other cases, victims are recruited when looking for jobs, hungry and homeless, or hoping to further their modeling and acting careers.
Get a Free Consultation with a Sexual Abuse Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been injured by sex traffickers online, you have legal rights. Contact a sexual abuse lawyer at Showard Law Firm in Tucson, AZ. We will approach your case with sensitivity and confidentiality, offering advice in a free, no-obligation consultation. In addition, we have the resources necessary to thoroughly investigate your claim and produce irrefutable evidence of the abuse you suffered.
You may be entitled to compensation for your losses, including medical expenses, therapy bills, lost wages, relocation costs, and pain and suffering. Call us now for support and a free, confidential consultation. We can also assist if you wish to pursue criminal charges against your perpetrator or you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline.